United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
D. STICKNEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Deeann McDonald ("Plaintiff) brings this action for
judicial review of the Acting Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration's ("Commissioner")
final decision denying her claims for a period of disability,
disability insurance benefits, and supplemental security
income under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). For the following
reasons, the final decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
alleges that she is disabled due to a variety of ailments,
including depression and back pain. Tr. 96, ECF No. 13-2.
After her application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration, a hearing was held on February 21, 2014, in
Dallas, Texas, before Administrative Law Judge Gilbert
Rodriguez (the "ALJ"). Tr. 200, ECF No. 13-3.
Plaintiff was born on December 30, 1976 and was 37 years at
the time of the hearing. Tr. 201, ECF No. 13-4. Plaintiff
attended high school through the 10th grade. Tr. 202, ECF No.
13-4. Plaintiff has past work experience as an automobile
inspector, a car seat instructor, and a school bus monitor.
Tr. 231, ECF No. 13-4. Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since November 23, 2011. Tr. 15,
ECF No. 13-2.
20, 2015, the ALJ issued his decision finding that Plaintiff
has not been under a disability within the meaning of the
Social Security Act since February 1, 2012, the date
Plaintiffs application was filed. Tr. 30, ECF No. 13-2. The
ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: disorders of the back, and depressive and
anxiety disorder. Tr. 15, ECF No. 13-2. The ALJ determined
that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or a combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one
of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1. Tr. 16, ECF No. 13-2. The ALJ determined that
Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity
("RFC") to perform at least light work as defined
in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). Tr. 19, ECF
No. 13-2. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff: (1) could sit,
stand, and/or walk for approximately six hours in an eight
hour workday; (2) was not limited in pushing and/or pulling
with her upper or lower extremities; (3) could frequently
balance, kneel, and crawl; (4) could occasionally crouch,
stoop, and climb ramps and stairs; (5) should not climb any
ropes, ladders, or scaffolds; (6) has no manipulative,
visual, communicative, or environmental limitations; (7) has
the ability to learn, remember, understand, and carry out at
least detailed work instructions and tasks; (8) could use
judgment in making work related decisions; (9) could respond
and relate appropriately with supervisors and co-workers;
(10) could maintain attention and concentration for at least
two hour intervals; and (11) could adapt to and deal with
changes in work settings and environments. Tr. 19, ECF No.
13-2. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff was unable to perform
any of her past relevant work, but that Plaintiff could work
as a packer, an assembler, and a wire sorter. Tr. 28 &
30, ECF No. 13-2.
appealed the ALJ's decision to the Appeals Council and on
October 8, 2015, the Appeals Council affirmed the ALJ's
decision. Tr. 6, ECF No. 13-2. Plaintiff filed this action in
the District Court on June 8, 2016. Compl., ECF No. 1.
claimant must prove that she is disabled for purposes of the
Social Security Act to be entitled to social security
benefits. Leggett v. Chater, 67 F.3d 558, 563-64
(5th Cir. 1995); Abshire v. Bowen, 848 F.2d 638, 640
(5th Cir. 1988). The definition of disability under the Act
is "the inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically-determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. §
423(d)(1)(A); Anthony v. Sullivan, 954 F.2d 289, 292
(5th Cir. 1992).
Commissioner utilizes a sequential five-step inquiry to
determine whether a claimant is disabled. Those steps are
(1) an individual who is working and engaging in substantial
gainful activity will not be found disabled regardless of
(2) an individual who does not have a "severe
impairment" will not be found to be disabled;
(3) an individual who meets or equals a listed impairment in
Appendix 1 of the regulations will be considered disabled
without consideration of vocational factors;
(4) if an individual is capable of performing the work the
individual has done in the past, a finding of "not
disabled" will be made; and
(5) if an individual's impairment precludes the
individual from performing the work the individual has done
in the past, other factors including age, education, past
work experience, and residual functional capacity must be